Saturday, January 24, 2009

How we rescued Fredrick, Xena and Leyla from horrible fates at Isabela

We awoke early in the morning to a humid and overcast day. It was in the 80's with 75% humidity by 8:30am. We decided to go get some exercise in the kayaks. We set out to go around the huge rocks that were in close proximity to the boat. David was watching as a new boat came into the anchorage and they were fiddling around with their anchor. I moved around the rock a bit more and saw some bird flailing in the water. It was a frigate. Frigate birds can't swim. Apparently he didn't get the memo. I hailed David and we went to the bird's aid. We got the bird between our kayaks and tried to get him to climb aboard. He was too weak and too heavy with water. I grabbed his wing and pulled him onto my bow. He lost his balance when a swell went through and I pulled him back on. I now had a new hood ornament. Since he was going to hang out with us for a while we decided to name him. Funny enough we blurted out names and they were the same, sort of. I said Fredrick and David said Freddy. Freddy chilled out on the bow as we paddled around. Half an hour later we were trying to think of what to do with him. We decided to take him to the beach and put him in a tree so he could dry out. Our beach landings were staggered so if it was rough David could come wade out and get Freddy, keep him as dry as possible. The landings went fine, but when David tried to grab Freddy he took a flying leap back into the water. David went and got Freddy and carried him ashore. We picked out a good tree and David put Freddy on a branch. Hours later he was still there making sure his feathers would be extra crispy for future flights. Hopefully Freddy will grow up to be a big and strong frigate bird someday.

A couple days later we saw another Frigate in the water. This one was getting blown towards a reef with breaking waves. So into action we went and retrieved the bird. We named her Xena. She was shivering and didn't have much energy. We took her back to the boat to let her dry off. After an hour she thought she was dry enough and tried to fly off the boat ending up back in the water. This time we hosed her off with fresh water, to rinse off the heavy salt, and kept her in the cockpit where she was less likely to fly away. She dried off for a while before deciding she should go for another swim. We knew she was still to heavy to make it anywhere but back into the water. We bundled her up in a towel and put her in a kayak and took her to the beach. Once ashore David put her in a tree away from the water.

The last and final bird we assisted was Leyla. She was the largest of the birds we had rescued. She calmly sat on the bow for the beach landing. I took her to a tree and set her down. A day later she was there , but a booby had taken over her spot sending her to a lower branch. I shoo'd the booby away and replaced her on the higher branch so she could easily fly away when she wanted. She did. All three of our birds successfully flew off again...not into the water! Yay for happy endings!

Oh and Paul thank you for the kayak surfing lesson in Chacala. I retained your teachings and was successful every time! Thanks again!


Paul Lauher said...

By surf lesson do you mean the monologue I gave on my one day of surf kayak classes while you were paddling out of voice range? ;) You're welcome!

I would ask exactly how one determines the gender of frigate birds, but I am afraid (and sure) that you know the answer...

XO Paul

Heather said...

Yes, yes that was exactly the lesson I was referring to :) Apparently I heard it and it stuck 'cause it worked out well. So thank you.

I surfed in my first big wave today. Wet ride, but otherwise excellent. I will blog about tonight's kayaking later :)

Heather said...

Oh yeah, no idea about the gender until they start to get their adult plumage. There are other ways, but we wont go there lol. We just named them as we saw fit :)